The missive contains many strong condemnations of the policy, saying it “will immediately sour relations with these six countries, as well as much of the Muslim world, which sees the ban as religiously motivated.”
In striking language contrary to the administration’s assertion that the ban will keep Americans safe, it states, “This ban … will not achieve its stated aim to protect the American people from terrorist attacks by foreign nationals admitted to the United States.”
The executive order on immigration signed by Trump yesterday immediately and indefinitely blocks Syrian refugees from coming to the United States and bans all immigrants from Iraq, Somalia, Yemen, Libya and Sudan for a supposed timeframe of 90 days. I say “supposedly” because who knows if Trump will ever actually rescind it.
The memo suggests that targeting these specific countries is misguided, saying “Given the near absence of terror attacks committed in recent years by visa holders from Syria, Iraq, Yemen, Somalia, Iran, Libya or Sudan, this ban will have little practical effect in improving public safety.”
(It’s worth noting that none of the countries the 9-11 hijackers were from are on that list. Saudi Arabia’s absence is especially confounding since 15 of the 19 on that day were from there. The huge amount of financial dealings Trump has in that country have led to accusations of corruption and favoritism. The ban also does not include the United Arab Emirates or Egypt, both of whom the President also does business with.)
In perhaps the letter’s strongest and most condemning passages, it says the countries included in the ban will see the executive order as an “attack on Islam” and it will have the effect of “alienating” the very people the Unites States relies on to provide it with intelligence in the war against terror.
It also says Trump’s order “calls back to some of the worst times in our history,” specifically mentioning the internment of Japanese-Americans during WWII.
The draft has not been formally submitted yet to Secretary of State nominee Rex Tillerson. If it is he will have 30-60 working days to respond to it.